xmlns:og='http://ogp.me/ns#'UA-81427306-1 Wisdom and Folly: April 2016

Monday, April 25, 2016

A Warning Within Shema Yisrael

Sh'ma Yis-ra-eil, A-do-nai E-lo-hei-nu, A-do-nai E-chad.

Hear, O Israel, the L-rd is our G‑d, the L-rd is One.

This very simple line is recited millions of times per day by Jews all over the world.  It comes from the book of Devarim or Deuteronomy, chapter 6:4.  It speaks of the oneness of G-d.  That oneness is completely unique to Him.  This line is also a warning to Jews.  It warns us to stay away from idolatry.  It reminds us who is our G-d.  Other religions try to lure us away from the G-d of Israel. They say yes G-d is one, but He is also three.  This line refutes this claim.  It is repeated daily so that it won't be forgotten.  It is of utmost importance that we remember that He is one.

Hear means to listen.  When someone says to listen, they are telling you that what they are about to tell you is important.  You need to hear this O Israel.  When one uses the word O or Oh, before a name it is adding to the importance of what was just said.  In this case, it is the word "hear".  Oh is indicative of the yearning for us to understand.  It could have said "listen, Israel" but it didn't.  This is important, possibly more important than what was previously stated.  Let's look at verse 3.  And you shall, [therefore,] hearken, O Israel, and be sure to perform, so that it will be good for you, and so that you may increase exceedingly, just as the Lord, the God of your fathers, spoke to you, a land flowing with milk and honey.  You see in the highlighted line He is saying that He was the G-d of their fathers.  Yes, this is important.  But it is more significant for us to know that He is our G-d in the here and now.  It is also important for us to know that He is one so that we will not be lured away.  In verse 12 it tells us exactly this.   Beware, lest you forget the Lord, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

In the Shema prayer it goes on to say, "and you will not follow after your heart and after your eyes by which you go astray - so that you may remember and fulfill all My commandments and be holy to your G‑d."  This is also a warning.  Hashem knows that there are things in this world that have the appearance of something good.  This is how we can be lured away.  One cannot be lured away by something that doesn't have a goodly appearance.  Lies camouflaged by a tiny bit of truth are still lies.  The heart is even more susceptible to being lured away.  Other religions know this and use this as a tool to lure us away.  They are warm and inviting.  They use friendly words to make us feel loved.  Be warned, it is very hard to leave a group that is showing you genuine love and affection. This is the warning of Sh'ma Yisrael.  We must know who is our G-d and that He is one, else we be lured away by those who would convince us that He is three.  

Translation of the full Shema

Copyright 2016 by:
William Bouker

Thursday, April 21, 2016

People and Their Beliefs

The other day I was accused of interpreting the Bible according to my own beliefs.  Had they not been serious, it might have been laughable.  The subject was tithing, but it could have easily been any other Biblical topic.  I explained to this person what the Bible says about tithing and also what it does not say.  Now I didn't use scripture references and quote exactly word for word.  I have at least a basic understanding of the subject and feel comfortable discussing it freely.  I explained to this person that the tithing, as outlined in the Bible, has nothing to do with giving money. The tithe went to the Levites who also gave a portion of what they received to the priests.  None of this went to the Temple.  Money for the Temple was collected annually as the "half-shekel" offering. This was not a tithe.  One of the good things about this method is that it removes partiality.  A rich man could not give more, nor could a poor man refrain from giving or offer less.  

The exact opposite is true in the church.  Wealthy members curry favor and position by giving more. Poor members are riddled with guilt because they cannot give as much.  Wealthy members are placed in positions of esteem.  Poor members are looked down upon for their inability to give.  I've heard ministers tell poor people to give up various aspects of their lives in order to give more to the church. I've also heard them praise the "big tithers".  This is scandalous and has nothing to do with tithing as outlined in the Bible. Please look this up for yourselves.  I will give scripture references below. Personally, I equate the church's position on tithing to that of the used car salesman.  The salesman tells you whatever he has to in order to get the most money from you.  He doesn't care if it is a hardship for you.  Some used car dealers are notorious for ripping people off.  My advice to the person in my conversation was this, don't base your beliefs on what someone is teaching you when they stand to make money from that belief.  You wouldn't trust the car dealer who tells you that some beat-up piece of junk has nothing wrong with it.  Don't trust the church telling you to give more, when they are the ones getting the money.  This is one big conflict of interest.  

As I said before, this could have been a discussion on any subject.  This time, it happened to be tithing.  I am always amazed at how few Christians actually read their bibles.  These same people somehow seem to get into conversations with me and begin to say things that can't be found in the Bible at all.  For example, another person entered the conversation above and actually said, "It is not "His way" or the Highway. God is all about freedom. Trusting Him, to me, is all about believing that His grace is sufficient..."  Are you kidding me?  Where in the Bible does it say that things don't have to be His way?  That is exactly what it says.  But I was the one "arrogantly" giving my own interpretation to the scriptures.  Another person said that Genesis 28:21 talked about tithing.  It does not.  Who is teaching these people?  These are good Christian people and they know nothing.

Conversations like this go on every day and Christians seem to line up to believe such drivel.  The question I have is why do they believe it?  The answer is simple.  They believe what they are told to believe without question.  Many of you know that I was once a Christian.  I'm not proud of that fact, but it is true.  But when I was, I actually read the bible.  I wanted to know what it said, not only for myself but so that I could teach others.  It's no wonder that reading the bible is what made me leave that life behind.  The funny thing is, I was reading the Christian bible.  Imagine my surprise when I started reading the Tanakh.  Those of us who have left the church run into problems like this all the time.  Personally, I don't claim to have any more than a basic understanding of the Torah.  I understand that there are more advanced concepts which I have yet to uncover.  But I don't stop learning.  I don't take anyone's word for what it says either.  I look it up.  I learn from those who are far more learned that I am, but I still look it up.  A good Torah teacher expects this.  It simply amazes me when some Christian tries to tell me what the bible says when they have barely read it.  Even church leaders, the ones who are supposed to know, have only a cursory knowledge of the bible. They simply say what they are supposed to say, whether it makes sense or not.  "Bring the tithes into the storehouse."  I can't count how many time I heard that one.  It's from the Book of Malachi, chapter 3.
This chapter is dealing with the two houses of Israel coming together in the future.  Yes, it does speak about tithing, but it does not give the regulations pertaining to tithing.  This is why the church uses it instead of Leviticus when teaching about tithing.  Most Christians are surprised to learn that there is more than one kind of tithe.

I didn't want this article to be about tithing, although it seems to have taken that path up until now. The things we call our beliefs must come from somewhere.  Mine come from G-d's word.  The person to whom I was speaking actually told me "as a Catholic, in no way do we depend solely on the Bible." He went on to say "You are the one hanging your hat solely on scripture, and then determining that you have the authority to get it exactly right. The arrogance of that view is breathtaking."  Now, I never said I had the authority to get it exactly right.  I just tell people what the Bible says. In my own defense, I do know how to read.  I understand what the words mean. Deuteronomy 8:3 teaches us that "whatever comes forth from the mouth of the Lord does man live." While I am far from perfect, I do my best to do just that.  This is also found in the Christian books of Matthew and Luke. Wherefore do they not depend solely on the Bible?  This is a contradiction of their own book.  Now that is arrogant. Christians believe this stuff. They would rather believe something like this because they are told to do so rather than simply read. Their own scriptures say otherwise yet they don't believe it when someone like me tells them.  The complacency of the rank and file of the church will ultimately be their demise.

For many Christians, it is all about what makes them feel good.  Of such is the person who said "God is all about freedom. Trusting Him, to me, is all about believing that His grace is sufficient..."  From which version of the bible is this person reading?  Obviously, they are not reading it.  This is the type of person who sits in the church on Sunday morning just waiting for that aha moment.  This is "feel good" theology at its best.  There is another group of Christians who live at the opposite end of the spectrum, the guilt lovers.  They like to call it long-suffering.  What it is is self-deprecating. The long-sufferers feel like they deserve to suffer for something they have done.  Many of them suffer from depression because of it.  These people are also not following their book.  If their idol really did die for their forgiveness, from whence does the guilt come?

For those few who do read their book, they don't have it any better.  With all of the inconsistencies in the new testament, they can't seem to make any sense of it.  It's no wonder so few read their bibles. It's confusing for them.  This could be why my friend thinks I'm so arrogant.  If they would look through the Christian bible they would find their rendition of the Hebrew Scriptures.  They might find things like "no one may die for the sins of another," or "Have no other gods before me."  They don't know what to do with that.  The new testament says otherwise.  How can that be?  They can't explain it so they stop reading altogether.  If they do ask about it, they are given some canned answer from someone they don't dare question.  The vast majority in the church are in this group. They want to be a good Christian but they can't figure it out.  So they go to church and listen to the sermon, sing the songs, turn in their "tithes" and socialize.  It becomes no better than a social club.

But what if there is more than that?  What if there is a way to actually attach to the Creator, blessed be His name.  The church never mentions this because they have the wrong concept of the Creator.  I like to look at it this way.  The Christian says G-d is everywhere.  The Jew says everywhere is G-d. You see, when you say G-d is everywhere, what you are saying is that everywhere is a place and He is there.  If you go some place you will find Him there.  When you say everywhere is G-d, you are saying He actually is the place.  The entire universe is only a small part of Him.  When you understand the difference between these two concepts, you can then begin to understand G-d, in as much as is humanly possible.  When Moses wanted to know G-d he said, "And now, if I have indeed found favor in Your eyes, pray let me know Your ways, so that I may know You," Exodus 33:13.  Here we learn how we can get to know G-d, by learning His ways.  Does this sound like we can do it our way?  Of course not.  When we learn His ways and keep His commandments, we (our souls) actually attach to Him.  This is one of the most amazing concepts in Judaism.  This idea has to be foreign to Christians because they have been taught not to keep His commandments.  They are taught that the commandments were nailed to the cross and are no longer in place.  All of the feel good sermons in the world can not replace actual attachment to G-d.  

If you are a Christian and you have made it this far, you must have many questions.  There are answers.  I will put some links to some very helpful sites.  Don't worry, not one of them will ask you for a dime.  You see it is actually forbidden to charge to teach Torah.


Deuteronomy 14:22-29 
Deuteronomy 26:1-19
Leviticus 22
Deuteronomy 12

Copyright 2016 by:
William Bouker

Sunday, April 10, 2016

The Church has a Problem: An in depth look

If you are a Christian, you have been taught a set of principles by which you live your life.  However, there are some very serious problems with those principles.  You were taught, maybe from childhood, that Jesus died for your sins.  This is wrong.  Not only did he not die for your sins, he wasn't the only son of G-d.  He wasn't the messiah either.  There are many proof texts I can cite to prove these points beyond the shadow of a doubt.  We'll get to that later.  Many of these can be found in my other blog posts as well.  I would like to examine some of these principles for you. These are things you have heard about already but you may not have looked at them in this way.

The Holy Scriptures   

Certainly you have heard of Moses before.  He was the man whom G-d spoke with on Mt Sinai and gave his law, the Torah, for the Children of Israel.  This is also not exactly accurate.  Yes, Moses did receive the Torah on Mt. Sinai.  But Torah doesn't mean law.  It means guide.  So, the Torah is the guide for how G-d expects His people to live.  It is often called the Law of Moses.  This term is misleading, but it is generally accepted as meaning the Five Books of Moses.  New Testament writers use the term to demean the Torah as being something no one could follow.  But wait, there's more. The Five Books are not the complete Torah.  Something you may not have heard about is the Oral Torah.  This was also given to Moses at Mt. Sinai.  The Oral Torah explains all of the aspects of the Written Torah.  For example, if you read the five books, you will find many things that are general directions like keeping the Sabbath.  Understand that not keeping the Sabbath is considered a capital offense.  So, the Oral Torah explains all of the things you can and cannot do on the Sabbath.  The rules are very specific.  How could G-d give a commandment, punishable by death, and not give specific instructions?  Another example is kosher slaughtering.  The Torah says to slaughter animals "in the way I have instructed you".  But it never says how to do it.  This is also in the Oral Torah.  It is also called the Oral Tradition.  One cannot fully understand the Written Torah without the Oral Torah. 

We know that G-d gave Moses the Torah, but what about the rest of the Bible?  The next part we come to is The Prophets.  At various times throughout history, G-d has spoken to certain people. These are prophets.  Prophecy is not necessarily a means to tell what will happen in the future. There were thousands of prophets but only a few are mentioned in the Bible. Most of the prophets were given information that was only relevant to the people of that time.  These prophecies may have been written down or not.  We don't have them today and that is fine because they were not for us. The prophets that are in the Bible are relevant both to the generation during which they lived and future generations.  Some of their prophecies have already been fulfilled while some have yet to be fulfilled. The rest of the books in the Bible are the Sacred Writings.  These books include the Psalms, Proverbs, etc  These books are neither Torah nor prophetic but are sacred none the less. These three groups of books make up the Hebrew Bible or the Tanakh.   Judaism, Islam, and Christianity all accept the truth of these books.

As a Christian, you may have read some of these books.  Some are quoted at various times by the church to point out specific things like tithing, and to attempt to point to Jesus at the messiah.  For this discussion, you don't need to have read these books completely.  Simply knowing that they contain the truth will suffice for now.  I must strongly suggest that you do read  them.

The Messiah 

 The word messiah comes from the Hebrew word Moshiach.  It means anointed.  In the Bible, we find many people being anointed.  All kings of Israel must be anointed.  But, being anointed does not make one a king.  Anointing is the act of pouring oil on the head of someone.  So, a messiah is simply someone who has been anointed.  The prophets spoke of a messiah who would come in the end times who would be the King of Israel.  He will do other things as well, like usher in an era of world peace and bring about a universal knowledge of the G-d of Abraham.  A quick internet search for "what will Moshiach do" will show you all of the things he will do.  The fact that he will be anointed is a bigger deal than many people think.  All of the kings are anointed by a prophet.  There hasn't been a prophet on the earth since Ezra.  He was the last of the prophets who wrote the book Malachi, the last book in the Hebrew Bible.  When Ezra died, prophecy ceased to exist on the earth. There are a lot of charismatic churches who claim to have prophets.  This is also wrong.  Any person claiming to be a prophet today is a liar.  You should be advised to stay away from such a person.  Elijah the Prophet is the one who will anoint the messiah as King of Israel.  Elijah is the significant issue here.  Elijah was taken up in a chariot of fire instead of dying.  After Moses, he is likely the most powerful of all the prophets in the Bible.  Elijah will return to earth and anoint the next king of Israel.  You see, throughout history, many men have claimed to be the messiah.  Some have actually done some of the things he is supposed to do.  Jesus actually did none of the things which the messiah is supposed to do.  Only our creator knows who the messiah is.  We know that He only speaks through His prophets. This is why Elijah is so important in the naming of the messiah.  We don't get to make the decision. It is said that in every generation, there is someone who could be the messiah.  Before Elijah can come and anoint him, the Jewish people must repent and return to G-d.  There is a point in time at which G-d Himself will force the issue and send His Moshiach.  This obviously hasn't happened yet.  Although, many Torah scholars insist it will be very soon, possibly any day now.  

The church has caused a huge problem for the coming of Moshiach.  Since the early days of the church, they have forced people to convert to Christianity.  The plain and simple truth is that Christians worship Jesus.  Jesus was a man.  Christians worship a man.  This is idolatry.  G-d demands that we worship Him alone.  There are many texts in the Bible that say this very thing.  The church forced the conversion of an unknowable number of Jews.  How can we ever expect the Moshiach to come with so many Jews trapped in idol worship?  And this problem goes back two thousand years.  The descendants of the Jews who converted back then have no idea they are even Jewish.  We are talking about billions of people throughout the years worshiping an idol named Jesus. The church is directly responsible for this.  Shameful doesn't begin to express what has happened.  By converting Jews, the church has severely hindered the coming of the Moshiach.  They will pay for the severity of their crimes by being destroyed.    

Forgiveness of Sins

You have heard that Jesus died for your sins. Scripturally, this is not possible.  According to the Hebrew Bible, no one can die for the sins of another.  Neither can anyone redeem the life of another. Redeeming is something that was done in the Temple.  Say you were bringing your tithe from the flock.  If you wanted to, you could pay the value of the animal plus one-fifth and keep the animal. So, when the Bible says you can't redeem the life of another, it is telling us that you can't buy your way out of sin. Another way redemption is used in the Bible refers to your closest relative.  Say you have a debt you cannot pay.  Your closest relative can opt to pay the debt for you, thus redeeming you from the debt. This is the sense in which we refer to the Creator, blessed be His name, our redeemer. Redemption is not forgiveness nor is it associated with it in any way.    
To understand forgiveness, you must first understand sin.  There are two types of sin, intentional and unintentional.  Your church will not be able to explain this to you, but here it is.  The sin sacrifices outlined in the Torah are for unintentional sin.  Say, for example, you didn't realize it was the Sabbath and you carried something out to your trash can.  You didn't intend to break the commandment. When there is a Temple in Jerusalem, you would be required to bring the sin sacrifice.  Your intent here is very important.  Now say, for example, you know it is the Sabbath, but you decide you are going to carry that same item to the trash can outside.  The intent here is completely different.  You consciously decided to break the commandment.  The sin sacrifice does not apply here.  You must repent and bring a guilt offering which is not the same as the sin offering.

The church looks at the Torah and reads about the blood sacrifice.  They will tell you that Jesus had to die to be the blood sacrifice for your sins.  They are missing a huge point here.  The blood sacrifice is not for intentional sins.  So, even if he were the sin sacrifice, you would still be guilty of any intentional sins you might have committed in your life.  So how then can they say he died for the forgiveness of your sin?  It doesn't fit the description.  Now here is the real "good news".  You don't need a blood sacrifice to be forgiven.  All that is required is repentance.  What's more, when there is a Temple and you bring your sin sacrifice, if you cannot afford an animal, you can bring fine flour.  No blood required.  Also, doing charity forgives a multitude of sins.  Again, no blood.  The big question is this, for what exactly do you need Jesus?  You don't need him to die for your sin.  It is in the Torah which we all agree contains the truth.  

The Son of G-d

The New Testament authors say that Jesus was the son of G-d.  This is wrong too.  To begin with, He does not have any anthropomorphic qualities.  That is to say, He doesn't have a body.  He doesn't give birth like people do.  The book of Genesis describes how the Creator, blessed be His name, created Adam.  The New Testament also says Adam was the son of G-d.  This becomes a problem for the church.  In a sense, we are all His children.  But, it doesn't go beyond that.  In the actual sense of the word son, no one is the son of G-d.  He was no more the son of G-d than you or I.  The church doesn't understand G-d at all.  He is everything.  There is nothing other than Him.  He is hidden in the world and it is up to us to discover Him.  The Torah tells us how to know Him.  Moses said to Him.  Teach me your ways so that I may know you.  When we keep His commandments and do what they say, we can attach ourselves to Him.  The New Testament infers that G-d is more like us.  That He gave birth to an actual son to whom He gave His power.  What they can't explain is this.  If there is a trinity, how does G-d give up His power to the other two segments of the godhead?  

The Hebrew scriptures teach us that G-d is one and alone, that there is no other but Him with whom He shares His glory.  This is not the description of the trinity.  The triune concept of a deity comes from pagan sources.  The church freely admits that they adopted pagan concepts in an effort to gain more converts.  They don't hide it.  But, did you know that most of the Christian ideas come from pagan sources?  These include the trinity, the crucifixion, the twelve disciples, the virgin birth, the second coming.  All of these concepts come from pagan religions.  Christianity is nothing more than an amalgam of pagan religions which have been piggy-backed onto Judaism.  

The Truth of Judaism

We've already determined and agreed that the Hebrew Scriptures are true.  If you say they are not true, you make Christianity non-existant.  Christianity depends on Judaism to justify itself.  Here's how.  Christians worship Jesus because they claim that he is the Jewish Messiah.  So, no Judaism, no Messiah.  As a Christian, you have to believe the Hebrew Scriptures.  That being said, let's look at some scriptures which prove everything you've just read.  I am using The Complete Jewish Bible provided by Chabad.org. (used by permission).  You will find, and all Bible scholars know, that the Christian bible's version of the Hebrew scriptures, or as they call it "The Old Testament" is not an accurate translation.  Yes, there are many different versions, but they are all translated from one of two writings, The Septuagint, and the Vulgate, some of which is translated from the Septuagint. These two compilations have been manipulated through the years and as such are not reliable. The Hebrew Scriptures in use today are largely the same as those found among the Dead Sea Scrolls which date to some three hundred years before the common era and between four and five hundred years before the New Testament.  They are more than reliable. Hebrew Scriptures undergo extreme scrutiny any time a new Torah Scroll is made.  They are not churned out on an assembly line or printing press.  The extreme processes in place today are the same as they were then.  This has allowed the Jewish people to make the claim that the Torah we have today is the same as that given to Moses.  

Let's take a look at some scripture.  In Exodus 32, we find the story of the golden calf.  The people have committed a grave sin, idolatry.    30 It came to pass on the next day that Moses said to the people: "You have committed a grave sin. And now I will go up to the Lord; perhaps I will obtain atonement for your sin."   We see Moses is trying smooth thing over for the people.  31 And Moses returned to the Lord and said: "Please! This people has committed a grave sin. They have made themselves a god of gold   32 And now, if You forgive their sin But if not, erase me now from Your book, which You have written."   G-d responds,    33 And the Lord said to Moses: "Whoever has sinned against Me, him I will erase from My book!"34 And now go, lead the people to [the place] of which I have spoken to you. Behold My angel will go before you. But on the day I make an accounting [of sins upon them], I will bring their sin to account against them." 35 Then the Lord struck the people with a plague, because they had made the calf that Aaron had made.  In this conversation, G-d explains to Moses that each person is accountable for his or her own sin.  Ezekiel 18:20-21 tells us that the soul that sins will die.  In verse 21 it says, " And if the wicked man repent of all his sins that he has committed and keeps all My laws and executes justice and righteousness, he shall surely live, he shall not die"   Repentance is all that is required for forgiveness.  Please look this up for yourself. In simpler terms, we are responsible for ourselves and what we choose to do.

 Deuteronomy 6: 4 shows us that there is no trinity.  "Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God; the Lord is one."  If He is a trinity this verse would be a lie.  As before, we have already determined that we believe the Hebrew Scriptures are true.  We know that G-d does not lie, (Number 23:19)  So when He says He is one, there is no way He can be anything but one. How is it that the church tells you He is three?  In Isaiah 43 we learn  " 3 For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; 10... before Me no god was formed and after Me none shall be; 11 I, I am the Lord, and besides Me there is no Savior;15 I am the Lord, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King.  I don't know of any place in the Scriptures where G-d refers to Himself in the plural.  He is one and beside Him there is no other.

You can see plainly that the things which the church has been teaching for two thousand years do not stand up the Scriptural scrutiny.  In other words, they are not true.  When you combine that with the fact that their bible has been manipulated countless times, you cannot, in good conscience, remain a Christian without at least some reservations.  There is no need for Jesus.  I urge you to turn to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and repent.  Worshiping Jesus, who was nothing more than a man, is idolatrous.  Idolatry is equal to a slap in the face of your Creator.  Know that there is no place for idol worship in the world to come.        


Copyright 2016 by:
William Bouker